Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Alamy)

Film

The classic thriller Roger Ebert described as “macho porn”

@Russellisation

It’s no secret that the late film critic Roger Ebert was a tough journalist to please, casting an analytical eye across the world of film to deliver an even perspective on each and every release. 

A presenter and writer, Ebert famously appeared alongside Gene Siskel on the 1980s show At the Movies, a cinema discussion show that ran from 1986-2011 and saw the two passionate cinephiles give their opinion on the latest releases. Perfectly contrasting in personalities, Ebert was often a little more lenient than Siskel, though this is certainly not to say that he would refrain from an impassioned debate. 

Trusted by thousands of cinema lovers in America and across the globe, Ebert had a particular fondness for the films of Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles and Yasujirô Ozu. In fact, in a list of his all-time favourites he names the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Citizen Kane, Raging Bull, Tokyo Story and even The Tree of Life, giving number one to Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.

There were countless movies that Roger Ebert wasn’t as fond of, however, having little time at all for Hollywood fodder or pretentious arthouse pieces. Though, sometimes it was truly difficult to know exactly where the critic would land on a movie, particularly as he was never afraid of going against popular opinion. 

Roger Ebert’s 10 favourite films of all time

Read More

This was proved beyond doubt when he reviewed David Fincher’s widely celebrated 1999 movie Fight Club, calling the film nothing more than “macho porn”. 

Berating the movie as “a celebration of violence in which the heroes write themselves a licence to drink, smoke, screw and beat one another up,” Ebert wasn’t too fond of the classic movie that would define 1990s filmmaking at the very end of the decade. 

Known as one of the greatest cult films of the era, as well as one of the most subversive, anti-capitalist films of all time, David Fincher’s Fight Club inspired a whole generation of disgruntled young people, telling the story of a white-collared insomniac who forms an underground ‘fight club’ with his friend. Since its release, the film has become an icon of ‘90s cinema, with its stars Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter each finding great success after the release of the movie. 

Acknowledging that the film was well made, thanks to the direction of David Fincher, Ebert’s main issue with the film was its dull themes and messages. Continuing on from his “macho porn” comment, the critic adds that he thinks Fight Club is “the sex movie Hollywood has been moving toward for years, in which eroticism between the sexes is replaced by all-guy locker-room fights. Women, who have had a lifetime of practice at dealing with little-boy posturing, will instinctively see through it; men may get off on the testosterone rush”. 

Fight Club wasn’t the only celebrated film that Ebert turned his nose up at either, taking a dislike to the Stanley Kubrick classic A Clockwork Orange, as well as Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to watch Fight Club, take a look at the trailer below, check out the movie and see if your opinion aligns with the great Roger Ebert.

Follow Far Out Magazine across our social channels, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.